US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells
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Emma Raducanu has been urged to do her best to block out the hype that will inevitably surround her after her shock US Open success and focus on her tennis. Tim Henman acted as the 18-year-old’s unofficial courtside mentor in New York, while working as a pundit for Amazon Prime Video, and has publicly continued to give the teenager advice as she gets to grips with the pressure and scrutiny that comes with a Grand Slam victory.
Raducanu caught the attention of the tennis world with a surprise run to the fourth round at Wimbledon – her first major tournament – earlier in the summer.
Still, no-one expected her to go on to win at Flushing Meadows, becoming the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam trophy in the process.
After a short break following that victory, the youngster is set to return to competitive tennis on Friday in the round of 64 at the Indian Wells Masters, taking on unseeded Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
There is sure to be immense interest in that encounter, especially as Raducanu has chosen to make her return to action at one of the biggest non-Slam tournaments on the calendar.
With this in mind, Henman has reiterated the importance of focussing on her game and not allowing herself to be distracted by the circus which is sure to be following her now and in the future.
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“My advice to her would certainly be: ‘Don’t worry about what other people think’,” he told The Guardian.
“There is always going to be an enormous amount of opinion out there and that’s something she can’t control.
“If she’s focused on those things which are within her control, she’s going to go on and continue to achieve great things within the sport.”
The six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist also opened up about the victory party held in New York once Raducanu’s media duties had been completed after the US Open final.
Henman was among those who were ushered into a large room so everyone involved could celebrate long into the night.
“It was a lot of fun to reminisce about the previous two weeks,” he added.
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“But also for [coach Andrew Richardson] and Emma to look back on the whole trip from when they started out in San Jose, the tournaments they played, the matches that she came through and the challenges she had.
“It was a lot of fun and a night I’ll always, always remember.”
After Indian Wells, Raducanu is set to jet to Russia for a tournament before heading to her father’s homeland of Romania to take part in the Transylvania Open.
She has also entered the Upper Austria Ladies in Linz, to round off what is set to be a busy end to the teenager’s breakout season.
Her next shot at a major title will come at Melbourne in January, where this time she appears set to enter as a seeded player in the draw, rather than having to go through the qualifying process.
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